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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Civil War Era Waist Purse

On another forum we've been discussing whether small purses were ever worn at the waist during the civil war period. Here is a potential waist purse that was listed on Ebay some time ago. Unfortunately I don't know who the seller was. Comments as to it's authenticity/use are welcome!

"Fresh from a local Maine estate - antique purse that dates to the Civil War era or earlier. Worn at the a pocket. Covered with black beads....some beads missing ( a few beads were packed away with it & will be shipped with purse). The purse is so dark they really do not show up through. Black silk lining has some lines in cloth from wear...not bad at all. One side seam needs to be reattached. Measures 7" x 6" across...side straps.... each 5 1/2" long by 3/4" wide.
Just a wonderful early purse for any collection...and they are really becoming scarce."

Monday, February 20, 2006

Godey's Lady's Book Headdress

Ok, I got the headdress done right before the ball. It didn't help that my girls swiped the second skein of pearl cotton and I found it right before we left. But I was pleased with the finished product. Here it is with the hairpiece I bought.

Here is the original pattern as it appeared in Godey's:

Fig. 1. Crochet Headdress.— This pretty little coiffure is suitable for morning wear, and is extremely easy to make. It is composed of purse silk, and trimmed with a coronet of bows and ends of black velvet. The back is made in the following manner:—

Make a chain of 60 stitches, and work a square of treble crochet, putting 2 chain between each treble. Then, for the top of the headdress, crochet on two sides of the square, 7 chain, and loop into every other treble. Repeat this for five rows, and mount this portion of the net on a pointed, wire. Ornament it with bows and ends of velvet, tastefully arranged, and finish off the back by lengths of silk looped in to form a fringe. About eight lengths of silk are required for one loop of fringe.

This might be converted into an evening headdress by making the foundation in some bright-colored silk, or gold twist, and ornamenting the front with small white ostrich feathers.

Here are the amended directions for the headdress I made. These haven't been tested, so let me know if you don't understand or if I need to make any adjustments. Thanks!


  • 2 skeins Brown (#801) Pearl Cotton
  • Size 6 Steel Hook

Row 1: Chain (Ch) 47. Treble crochet (Tr) in 7th chain from hook, Ch 2, *skip 2 Ch, Tr in next Ch, Ch 2,* repeat from * to * across. Turn. (14 Tr squares)

Row 2: Ch 6 (counts as Tr, Ch 2), *Tr in top of next Tr, Ch 2* across to last turning chain, Tr in 4th Ch of turning Ch. Turn. (14 Tr squares)

Rows 3 - 14: Repeat Row 2.

At the end of Row 14, instead of turning work to go back you will continue down the edge of your work.

Edging Row 1: Ch 7, skip 1st square and SC in next square, *ch 7, skip one square and sc in next square* across to corner. Ch 7, sc in next square around corner (do not skip a square), *ch 7, skip one square and sc in next square* across. Turn. (14 ch 7 loops)

Row 2: Ch 7, sc in top of ch 7 loop, *ch 7, sc in top of next ch 7 loop* across. (14 ch 7 loops)

Rows 3 - 5: Repeat Row 2.

End off.

Fringe: You can make the fringe using the pearl cotton, or you can use premade beaded fringe like I did. Work the frindge along the free sides of the initial tr square that you made. I attempted to work the beaded fringe in while I worked the square but it was very confusing. It may be easier to weave the ribbon through after you've made the square. And it would probably be easier yet to simply make fringe from the pearl cotton and tie it on.

Add ribbons and/or flowers to the top and attach to combs or a headband if you like, or simply pin into place with hair pins. I stitched mine to a comb-type headband because I have no hair (lol) and the beads were heavy.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Ohio Regimental Military Ball

I'll be attending the Ohio Regimental Military (Civil War) Ball this Saturday ( so I decided I needed something to cover up my hair, or lack there of, lol. I got a ponytail hairpiece, thinking I could twist it into a bun, but the jury's still out on that one! I'm working on a crocheted headdress from the June 1862 Godey's Lady's Book.
Fig. 1 I'm using Perle Cotton with a size 6 steel crochet hook and beaded fringe in lieu of the thread fringe. It may be too heavy though. We'll see how it goes.

Speaking of vintage crochet, I've been listing Beeton's Needlework Books on Ebay at $6.99 each. So far I'm listing Crochet, Knitting, and Tatting, but I also have Berlin Work, Guipur D'Art and Point Lace. One of the things I really like about them is that there is a picture for each project, unlike some of the vintage crochet books I've purchased before. You can see them here:

This is the beaded bag I made to go with my ball gown. Unfortunately it's not a vintage pattern, so I can't share it here, but you can see it's a fairly simple little bag made up of regular bedspread weight crochet cotton. It's made like a rectangle with a triangle on the end, then folded, the edges sewn and the beaded fringe sewn on last. You make the strap separately and then attach it. I cut the extra beads off the fringe and sewed them on the strap by hand. I wish I would have made the strap a little shorter, but live and learn.

Bookmarks for Valentine's

I've been working on bookmarks for an exchange on the Crafty Chicks MSN Group. They should be well on their way now, so I'll go ahead and post them here. I made them both from free patterns on the web by Priscilla Hewitt. Thanks Priscilla! The first is a pattern of cascading pineapples. The other is a heart corner bookmark. If you've done any surfing at all for free crochet patterns then you're familiar with Priscilla's work. If not, you should definitely check out the wealth of patterns at